This Xbox Live Arcade game comes with eight unique levels, each with their own destructible environments and obstacles to overcome. The game features your basic Bomerman level that you get in every version of the game, as well as more interesting locations, such as a spaceship, the big top, a level entirely on ice, a strange Lost World-style level, and even a pirate level. While you can play the standard game in any of these levels, most of locations also have an Arena Feature which makes the level actually fight back and sabotage your character. For example, some levels will feature holes that open up and make you fall in, other levels will shoot out fire, and there's even a level that features quicksand that will make you stop dead in your tracks (leaving you vulnerable to any and all attacks).
Beyond the level-specific game modes, you can also play the game using slightly different rules. Perhaps the most exciting is the Zombie mode, which gives your Bomberman characters unlimited lives and requires you to paint (by blowing your bombs up) as much of the level as you can before time expires. There is actually another variation on that mode that isn't nearly as much fun, but is still interesting to play from time to time. While it's true that the Bomberman formula hasn't changed much over the last 24 years, Bomberman Live does what it can to keep the game modes as fresh as possible.
Since you're going to be playing the game online against a whole world of Bomberman fans you might as well show off your individual style. Bomberman Live actually allows you to customize your character in a lot of cool ways, from adding different hates to changing the facial expressions to trying on different clothes. As you play the game you will unlock new outfits to equip to your character, ultimately giving your Bomberman character a unique look when playing online (or offline with your friends or the computer). This is your chance to see what a Bomberman character would look like in a dress or as a cowboy or decked out in pirate garb (complete with a peg leg and eye patch). Not only does customizing your character make it easier to know where you are when you're on the battlefield, but it also makes the Bomberman character even more adorable ... something I didn't think was possible.
There's no denying the addictive nature of Bomberman Live, this is one of the greatest party games of all time and a must own for every Xbox 360 owner. But the game is not perfect, there are a few minor complaints that keep this from being everything it can be. One of the problems I had was the complete lack of a single-player campaign. While the Bomberman games have never had the best story modes, most of the past titles have at least tried to offer some sort of a single-player experience. Unfortunately Bomberman Live decides to ignore a story mode, settling for a single-player mode that is basically you against three to seven computer-controlled characters.
Another problem I had was the constant dropping of games in the online mode. Perhaps it's because people don't want a loss to be registered on their account or maybe they just hate playing a full game, but whatever the case is I found that most of the online games I played ended when the host left the room prematurely. It would be one thing if somebody else in the room was given the responsibility of hosting the match after the original host disconnected, but in Bomberman Live you just exit out to the main menu. This is especially annoying because of the frequency of its occurrence. I would not be exaggerating if I were to say that it happened at least 90% of the time, it makes playing random ranked players a much more frustrating experience than it should be. Hopefully Hudson can figure out a way of penalizing those gamers who decide to exit the game early ruining the game for the rest of us, because as it is I find myself praying to finish a game every time I go into a random room.
If you can get past those two minor complaints you will find one of the best Xbox Live Arcade games of the year. At $10 it's hard to imagine a better deal; the game is loaded with a ton of content and a great multiplayer experience making this a must-own party game for anybody who loves fast-paced action games. Best of all, Bomberman Live manages to erase the bad taste left in our mouth from last year's Act Zero. If you're looking for a great multiplayer action game for your Xbox 360 you need not look any further than Bomberman Live.
Bomberman Live is everything you want from a Bomberman game, including fast-paced action, a great multiplayer mode, and enough diversity to keep you coming back for months to come. With its strong online mode and character customization, Bomberman Live proves to be the best version of the long-running series to come a long in more than a decade!
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